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Concerning al-Jarh wat-Ta'deel, Radd `alal-Mukhaalif and Tahdheer Min al-Bida`
  On The Importance of Knowing Men
Author: Muhaddith Abdur-Rahman al-Mu'allimee al-Yamani
Source: Ahimmiyatu Ilm ur-Rijal (trans. Abu Iyaad, forthcoming SP release)
Article ID : SLF020003  [44865]  
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The Dignity of Knowledge

And that in which there is no dispute is that the sciences vary in the extent of the dignity (that they contain). Amongst them is the noble and the most noble, the important and the most important.

And no matter what might be conceived of dignity and excellence for the (various) sciences of philosophy, natural sciences, mathematics, literature, industrial sciences and other than them from the sciences of this universe - no matter what might be conceived for them of dignity, excellence and an elevated rank - then (most certainly) they do not approach (the level of) that knowledge - which along with sharing with those sciences in the furtherance of the mental faculties and enlightenment of the minds - is unique in rectifying the manners, and bringing about eternal happiness, and it is the knowledge of the deen.

And however much a person may advance in the skills and knowledge-related disciplines of this universe and (in) facilitating the ways and means of (attaining) ease and comfort, then (even) if that raises him from the (level of) animals from one aspect, it places him there from another aspect - (which occurs) so long as his manners are not purified. Therefore, he (ought to be) shaped by gentleness, mercy, generosity, chastity, humility, truthfulness, trustworthiness, justy, benevolence, and others besides them from the noble manners and characteristics.

Knowledge and Manners

Everyone who has reflected and considered over the nations and individuals of this time will know that (this time) rightfully deserves to be called ‘the era of knowledge’. However, along with that he sees that it is necessary for it to be called a different name - by looking at the decline in morals!

The earthly souls are (but made of) dust. It is their inherent nature to give birth to blameworthy characteristics so long as they are not nourished by the pure water of eemaan and (so long as) the (radiant) sun of the correct knowledge of the deen does not rise over them, and (so long as) the breezes of the Wise Reminder do not rage against them.

So whichever land is devoid of this water, and the rays of this (radiant) sun are veiled from it, and is restricted from the paths of those breezing winds, then its fruits will be as the Angels - upon them be peace - said:

Will you place therein (i.e. the earth) those who will cause mischief and shed blood… [Soorah Baqarah 2:30]

The Fountains of Islaam

For the deen - and that is Islaam - are two great fountains: The Book of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic and the Sunnah of His Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam).

The Definition of the Sunnah

The ‘Sunnah’ is an expression of: that which has been established from the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) of sayings, actions and (things) other than them which constitute an explanation of the Qur’aan, an explanation of the rulings (of Islaam), imbibing of the manners and other than that from the beneficial things of the present life and the next.

The Companions and the Sunnah

The first of those who acquired the Sunnah, are the Noble Companions. So they memorised it and understood it. They knew it in (both) its generality and its specific detail, and they conveyed it - as they were ordered - to those who came after them.

Then the Successors (Taabi’oon) acquired it and they conveyed it to those who followed them and so on. So a companion would say, "I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) say such and such…" and a successor would say, "I heard so and so companion say, ‘I heard the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam)…’" and the one who would follow the successor would say, "I heard so and so say, ‘I heard so and so companion say, ‘I heard the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) say’’" and so on.

The Need for Memorising the Sunnah

Everyone who knows that Muhammad is the Seal of the Messengers, and that his sharee’ah is the seal of all the Sharee’ahs, and that the happiness of this life and the next, and of eternal life lies in following him will know that the people are more in need of memorising the Sunnah than they are of food and drink.

The Obligation of Knowing the Conditions of Men

Sometimes a narration may come from someone from whom it is obligatory to accept, or from whom it is obligatory to reject, or from whom it is necessary to withhold from (until further clarification). And how foolish it would be, that that which is from the truth which the Seal of the Prophets conveyed from His Lord, the Mighty and Majestic and that which is from the falsehood that Allaah and His Messenger are free of, should be known by other than knowing the conditions of the narrators.

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